The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle departed Naval Submarine Base New London and returned to her home mooring at Fort Trumbull in New London, Thursday, December 20.
Eagle arrived at the base September 26 and began a three-month dockside maintenance availability period. The $3.4 million dollar project included a complete renewal of the 132-foot mizzen-mast, an overhaul of the main steering station, significant structural refurbishments, and major berthing area modifications.
At Fort Trumbull, the Eagle crew will finish the ship’s required annual maintenance period and begin preparing for the spring and summer training deployments. As part of the preparations, Eagle will undergo the bi-annual Command Assessment of Readiness and Training and Tailored Ships Training Availability inspections to ensure the ship is safe and the crew is properly trained for all operations.
Eagle worked closely with the Coast Guard yard and the Naval Submarine Base in preparation for this dockside availability. After being away from homeport for more than 265 days during fiscal year 2012, Eagle was able to remain in Southeastern Connecticut and complete all required maintenance. Eagle has moored at SUBASE for hurricane avoidance and mitigation in the past, but this is the first time in more than 20 years that the ship has completed a major maintenance period at the submarine base.
“Without the much-appreciated assistance from our friends at Groton, Eagle would have needed to return to the Coast Guard Yard facility in Baltimore this winter in order to complete this necessary maintenance,” said Capt. Raymond Pulver, Eagle’s commanding officer, “The Navy welcomed us with open arms and truly made us feel at home during our time in Groton. Their support was integral to being able to care for our crew and let them spend a little more time at home with their families before getting back underway for the 2013 training deployments. We are genuinely grateful for their cooperation in making life on Eagle a little bit more comfortable for the crew this year.”
At 295 feet in length, the Eagle, known as “America’s Tall Ship,” is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service. Constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German Navy, the Eagle was taken by the United States as a war reparation following World War II.
With more than 23,500 square feet of sail and six miles of rigging, the Eagle has served as a floating classroom to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience. A permanent crew of six officers and 50 enlisted personnel maintain the ship and guide the trainees through an underway and in-port training schedule.